Two Fun Trick to Teach your Dog

Crawl — for your dog to learn this trick, he must have a solid down.  Put your dog on a down.  Get down on the ground beside the dog.  Holding a treat in front of her nose, move it a bit in front of her.  Most dogs will try to stand up and reach for the treat.  Remind them to down by tapping their hind legs lightly and saying down.  When the dog scoots just a bit forward, praise the dog and give them the treat, telling them “Good crawl”.  Practice this five times then let the dog free.  You can do three sessions of five crawls each day.  Gradually hold the treat farther away from the dog and encourage them to crawl toward it.

Now comes the hard part.  You have to transition to standing up beside your dog when giving this command.  You can do this two ways.  You can put a treat a few inches in front of your dog, stand up, and command crawl until the dog will crawl when you tell them.  The problem with this is the dog often jumps the gun and gets the treat before you stand up.

A way around the problem is to tape a small plastic cup on its side to the bottom of a yard stick.  Put the treat in the cup and tell the dog to crawl, holding the cup a few inches in front of the dog.  When the dog crawls to the treat, let him have it.  Gradually phase out the treat and just use praise until your dog crawls when you tell them to even if there is no treat available.  Remember to always praise the dog whether you give them a treat or not.

Roll over — This trick also requires your dog to have a solid down.  It can be a little scary for timid dogs to roll over and expose their bellies, so if the dog has a problem with this trick, find another one for him to do.

Put the dog on a down.  Kneel beside the dog.  Put the treat behind the dog’s head.  When the dog tries to get it, he will naturally roll over on his side.  At first, tell the dog he is a good dog and give him the treat.  Gradually make the dog roll over farther and farther by continuing to move the treat behind his head.  Be sure and tell the dog “roll over” when you do this.  As the dog figures out what you want, he will roll over faster and faster until finally he rolls over all the way.  Go crazy with praise and give the dog multiple treats the first time he does this.  Practice this no more than five times a session and no more than three sessions a day.  You do not want your dog to get bored with learning his tricks.

Teaching your dog tricks trains them to learn unusual things and helps them learn to learn.  It also cements the bond between you and your dog.